The Many Benefits of Meal Planning
It always seems so hard making a plan, doesn’t it?
It’s easy to procrastinate when faced with such endeavours, but it might surprise most to learn that meal planning is quick, it’s easy, and not only will it save you bundles of time, it has a long list of benefits for you and your family. And that’s what’s important, right?
So what are some of these benefits?
Very few do a family shop without a list, so take the stress out of your food preparation too. ‘Winging it’ is the road to eating meals that aren’t even meals, but just food thrown together without any love or nutritional consideration. Healthy meals that ooze taste need a little more thought.
Construction & Nutrition
A meal plan naturally forces you to think about your meal construction, highlighting exactly what you are putting into your body in a way last minute decisions can’t. Chances are, if you are planning a week of meals, you will at the very least be dotting your eye fillets and crossing your tahinis!
Proteins, carbohydrates, fluids and fats are the building blocks of a healthy diet, so avoid the Sunday night revelation that you’ve just had a week of one with hardly any of the others. It’s easy to do.
Variety & Creativity
Strange things happen when you prepare! Ideas are born with every meal, and your meal plan can incorporate notes on artistic flourish that your unconscious mind can then stew on for days. Who knows what simple garnish or extravagant marinade will result. Knowing what you want to do actually makes achieving it so much quicker.
Save Time & Money
Time is precious, and we seem to have less of it these days. It therefore makes sense to prepare your pantry and fridge for the week ahead. In one fell swoop you can avoid those extra, last minute (mostly expensive) trips to the local shops. Preparation saves time and money (on petrol, by buying in bulk, and avoiding impulse purchases).
And since you already know what you are going to eat beforehand, and the ingredients required to prepare the meal, the whole process is certain to take less time, every time.
Further, what is the best thing about a hearty, tasty meal? If you said leftovers! then high 5’s all round. Not only can food taste mesmerising the next day, but you can budget for this several times in your meal plan. Or, you can make enough to freeze for later.
Knowing your weekly food requirements in advance means that you will have very specific goals when shopping for your ingredients. Buying exactly what you need eliminates waste because every ingredient has a purpose.
Ain’t it amazing how a little thought can be so rewarding?!
How to Meal Plan
The goods news is that meal planning is simple:
- Decide what you want to eat – mains, snacks and desserts included – and when
- Cover the essential food groups to deliver a diverse and healthy diet, full of the nutrients the body and immune system need
- Add a touch of flair and creativity to the plan (hard to resist!)
- Include ‘off days’ for refrigerated or frozen leftovers
- Sort out your shopping list
- Designate a day for batch cooking